Strengthen anti-robocall efforts


COLUMBUS – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined other states in calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to urge telecom companies to implement practices that would protect consumers from illegal robocalls and caller ID spoofing.

The comment letter to the FCC follows a recent announcement that 12 phone service providers have already agreed to adopt many of the practices as part of an initiative with Yost’s office and 50 other attorneys general.

“A popular concept in business is that the customer is always right,” Yost said. “Well the customers have spoken: It’s time to make this call-blocking technology free and accessible to everyone.”

In the comments to the FCC, the coalition of attorneys general say telecom providers should:

* Offer free, automatic call-blocking services to all customers. The call-block services should be based on reasonable analytics and should not block important calls, including emergency alerts or automated calls that customers have signed up for, like medical reminders.

* Monitor network traffic to identify patterns consistent with robocalls and take action to cut off the calls or notify law enforcement.

* Implement STIR/SHAKEN caller ID call-authentication technology, which will help ensure that phone calls originate from secure, verified numbers, not spoofed sources. The coalition supports the FCC’s proposal to take regulatory action against telecom companies that do not comply with STIR/SHAKEN.

* Develop caller ID authentication to prevent robocalls to landline telephones. This is particularly urgent because many victims of robocall scams are elderly or live in rural areas and primarily use landline technology.

Yost joins attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in signing the comment letter.